You will have to play a long time yet before you realize that you can not play at all. Ludwig Van Beethoven
People, students, often ask me to tell them if they have talent, as if to suggest they should not want to waste their time, devoting themselves to something that will likely end badly, as a vein attempt at greatness. My response to them is similar to Beethoven’s, though perhaps not quite so pessimistic. My answer usually goes something like this:
You will have to spend years learning techniques and immersing yourself in methods and structures, exploring a hundred styles, discovering untold perspectives, creating dozens of bodies of work before you will ever truly be able to answer that question. I’ve been at this for 32 years, lived and breathed it. Do I have talent? More than some and less than others. What does it matter how much talent I have over another? Not a wit. The only part of me that ever cared about such things was my ego, which has never brought me anything but remorse. What matters are the ideas and my ability to cull together the technical means to realize them. This is my source of joy. This is my bliss.